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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND   SURREALISM              481

number of writers born after 1900 for work of sterling merit,
which may range from crass realism to the symbolic waves-of-
consciousness novel of Herbert Zand. WOLFGANG BORCHERT (1921-
47), a Hamburg man, had a short life of intense suffering; he was
condemned to death for.defeatism, but released; in 1944 he was
jailed in Moabit. He wrote a play, Draussen vor der Tur (1947); the
leading character is a Heimkehrer from Siberia, one of those who
return home to find no home - 'Ihr Zuhause ist draussen, nachts im
Regen, auf der Strasse, Das ist ihr Deutschland*. There is the same
mood of hopelessness in his short stories: Die Hundeblume (1948),
An diesem Diensttag (1948). His verse was published in Lateme,
Nachtund Sterne (1946), with additions in his collected works, Das
Gesamtwerk (1949).

There is something of Borchert's despairing mood in the work of
HEINRICH BOLL (1917- ). Born in Cologne he served as an infantry
man from 1938 to 1945, and was four times wounded. He made
his reputation with the short stories of Der Zugwarpunktttch (1949);
the period covers three days and nights spent by men on leave
from the front. There is a ghost-like atmosphere in the twenty-five
ironic Novellen of Wanderer, kommst du nach Spa (i 95 o); it is a grim
picture of fevered life in a country at war and near to defeat -
soldiers fighting in snow and ice on the Eastern front and snatch-
ing brief hours of love from the girls they meet, darkened stations
with trains shunting at midnight, and then the aftermath of a lost
war. His first novel Wo warst du Adam? (1951) covers the retreat
from Rumania in 1943 and ends with the capitulation of Germany
in 1945; it brands the sheer idiocy of war. The scene of his second
novel Undsagte kein ein^iges Wort (i 9 5 3) is a German town (Cologne
is indicated) shattered by bombs, and the period is that directly
following the reform of the currency. The novel probes into the
conditions of post-war life and shows how much depends on the
wife; there is no Zuhause; husband and wife have to live in a single
room. The husband has returned from the front with disordered
nerves; he takes to drink and lounges in Groschenauttimaten. By
contrast his wife endures in heroic patience, and in the end the
husband finds his way back to her. There is a religious base -
significant in the post-war Catholic Rhineland;*the lesson is that
faith gives restraint and courage to force a way out of illness and
the direst poverty. Haus obne Hitter (1954) is once again a novel of
family life under strain and stress. The troubles which go with the